This north London company (based at Holloway) was founded by Charles and Benjamin Reid and originally produced lead toy soldiers and farm models.
In the 1950s it moved into smaller toys similar to the Matchbox Series. It developed a range called 'Old Crocks', which included veteran cars, perhaps inspired by the popularity of the film 'Genevive'. The range included some unusual vehicles including a London bus and Stephenson's 'Rocket'. The 'Old Crocks' were produced from 1955 to the late 1960s. Care should be taken as these do tend to suffer from metal fatigue.
Later products (mid 1970s) included toys such as Batman and Superman.
The Darracq and Spyker (the two cars featured in the film) were introduced at toy trade fairs in early 1955 leading to a range of twelve models.
By 1960 catalogues listed 28 models plus six Military Models and four Miniature Lorries. The Lorries do not seem to been produced, but were listed as:
Most of the range was still available in 1967, but all toy manufacturers were now being badly affected by competition from Mattell's Hot Wheels.
Some 'silver' plated models were produced, presumably for mounting on giftware such as ashtrays. These can be identified by one or two holes in the base for the mounting screws.
What's your Charbens worth? Here are some recently sold items.
|Charbens Old Crocks No 3 1914 Old Bill Bus...||03/2021||$13.38|
|Rare Charbens Die Cast Old Crocks Series Oc23 1904...||03/2021||$24.39|
|Rare Charbens Die Cast Old Crocks Series 13...||03/2021||$22.69|
|Rare Charbens Die Cast Old Crocks Series 16 1909...||03/2021||$13.24|
|Rare Charbens Die Cast Old Crocks Series 1905...||03/2021||$13.24|
|See all sold items on eBay for more prices||05/2021||$-.--|